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Monday, Feb. 26
The Indiana Daily Student

sports women's soccer

The Hoosiers struggle early with consistency

Senior midfielder Jessie Bujouves plays against SIUE Cougars at Bill Armstrong stadium on Sunday. IU tied the game with SIUE Cougars, 0-0.

IU women’s soccer put together a pair of hard-fought halves against No. 13 Virginia Tech and SIU-Edwardsville in this weekend’s season-opening Hoosier Classic.

Those halves, however, came in separate games.

The Hoosiers, fresh off a frustrating 7-11-1 campaign in 2014, entered Friday night’s clash against the nationally-ranked Hokies as underdogs.

Following a clinical first half by Virginia Tech, IU found themselves fighting a 2-0 halftime deficit. IU Coach Amy Berbary’s squad made changes at the break, which led to a resilient second-half effort including a goal in the 78th 
minute by senior Jessie Bujouves.

Despite a spirited fight, the Hoosiers ended on the losing end of a 2-1 result.

IU came out with a purpose Sunday as they earned three corner kicks in the opening eight minutes of play. SIU-Edwardsville was able to clear all of them, however, and seemingly stifled every Hoosier opportunity.

After a frustrating 120 minutes of play against a team against which the Hoosiers entered as favorites, neither team was able to find the back of the net.

IU withstood attacks from both the Hokies and Cougars for nearly the entirety of both games, but the offensive inconsistency remains a major point of emphasis as the Hoosiers enter weekend games against Missouri and Baylor in the Boilermaker Challenge Cup at Purdue.

“The fact that we have gone 182 minutes without being scored on is tremendous,” Berbary said. “It speaks a lot about how our new back line and team defending is. We certainly gave ourselves some opportunities to win both games. We showed our youth a little bit this weekend — not being able to finish those chances when we did get inside.”

With such a young team that is coming off an inconsistent season, the challenge of steady play on a game-to-game basis is certainly a daring one. Berbary said the solution starts right on the training pitch.

“I think it comes from training,” she said. “We have to train consistently — we can’t have one good day, one bad day, one good day and then one bad day. We’ve got to wipe the slate clean, forget about last weekend and move forward.”

The Hoosiers showed they have the fight and defense to bounce back from an up-and-down weekend.

“We’ve got a good fight to us,” Berbary said. “I think the fight’s a little inconsistent sometimes. When one player is fighting, another player is struggling. We’ve got to get on the same page and get our work rate at 100 percent all the time.”

Bujouves, the lone goalscorer from this weekend, is a central part of the offense that is trying to find its rhythm. Like Berbary, the senior midfielder said she believed the consistency must start from the top.

“It comes down to working hard in practice,” Bujouves said. “From the seniors to the freshmen, I think if the freshmen see the seniors consistently working hard in practice on every drill, people will start to follow. It starts from the top and works its way down. We have to keep encouraging and supporting each other.”

Hoosier fans will see if this week’s training has helped the cause as early as this Friday.

“We’re pretty good when we go away,” Berbary said. “I like going away. It gets rid of distractions. We’re together. I think it builds a little more team chemistry than we already have. It’s a neutral site in our home state, so I’m hoping that we have quite a few fans.”

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